Conos family list Swanston House

Swanston House gets light from two sides.

The family of late Greek-Australian restaurateur, Theo Conos, is selling one of its highest profile CBD properties after 38 years.

The double fronted, seven storey Swanston House (pictured, top) – which just turned a century – is expected to trade for over $15 million.

At 163 Swanston Street, with access to Masons Lane, agents are marketing it as a vacant retail investment – the ground floor and basement tenancy was for over a decade until recently occupied by Foot Locker.

Refurbished last year, this area now contains 343 square metres inclusive of a mezzanine.

Artist’s impression of an activated Swanston House rooftop.

The upper six levels include c1107 sqm which could be used for more shopping space, offices or hospitality; the rooftop has an additional 58 sqm previously permitted for activation.

Colliers’ Oliver Hay, Daniel Wolman and Leon Ma with Alexander Robertson’s Kristian Peatling and Warwick Bramich are representing the Conos family which acquired Swanston House in 1984.

Theo Conos is responsible for one of Melbourne’s earliest Greek restaurants, OMONIA, in Lonsdale St, some 70 years ago.

According to the Kastellorizian Association of Australia, which Mr Conos’ father, Michael Economides established nearly a century ago, the family later opened eateries in Causeway Inn and in the 1960s, at then-new shopping centres, Chadstone then Northland.

This generation might recognise the name for its connection to former Lygon St restaurant Ilios, with an opulent fit-out said to have cost $750,000 in 1983.

Mr Conos also maintained more than a dozen jewellery outlets, KAA said.

Long time Swanston Street backer

Mr Conos at one stage held a half dozen Swanston St assets including two strata suites within the Manchester United building, picked up from the Liberman family for $1.3m in 1996.

The agents said Swanston House is in one of the most highly trafficked parts of the city, between Bourke and Collins streets.

More than 17,000 people a day pass through, they added.

“It also has unmatched public transport options,” according to the executives (story continues below).

The Holiday Indigo earmarked to replace the Bourke Street Mall side of The Walk Arcade.

“The property is best suited for retail occupiers with value-add strategies that are seeking to enter one of Australia’s most recognised…precincts that is Swanston St,” Mr Wolman said.

The proposed Holiday Inn, at the Little Collins Street end of Melbourne Walk.

The listing comes 15 months since Abacus Property Group and Charter Hall snapped up a two third stake in Myer’s nearby Bourke St Mall store – a deal which valued the entire asset at $405.6m.

Across the road from there, Newmark in 2020 picked up the outgoing David Jones Menswear store for $121m with plans for a mixed use project in which advertising agency Clemenger recently committed to 7500 sqm.

Ground breaks at Melbourne Walk

Next to the Newmark property, Steadfast Capital yesterday broke ground on a mixed-use project replacing The Walk Arcade.

Melbourne Walk, as the development will be known, is designed with three levels of retail, including food and beverage space – all up with 6000 sqm.

It will also include a dual-branded 450-room hotel – with a Holiday Indigo and Holiday Inn – to be managed by InterContinentalGroup, and a fifth floor restaurant, lounge and bar overlooking Bourke St Mall.

Steadfast is controlled by Singaporean Hua Sin Tay who paid $18m for the arcade, on 3642 sqm, and also with Little Collins St frontage, in 1993.

The company will develop Melbourne Walk with adviser Shorea Capital.

Buchan is the architect.

Hickory is the builder.

Colliers is the retail leasing agency.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of